General delivery

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

John Tavares wants to remain a man, or teen, of his word.

Back in May 2005, on the day the Oshawa Generals announced they would be taking Tavares, then 14, first overall in the Ontario Hockey League draft, he stood before a large group of media at supporters at the old Civic Auditorium and said his primary goal was to bring a tradition of success back to the club.

Less than two years later, Tavares has been the biggest reason for the Generals' resurgence. The Generals will head down the 401 today to Belleville for a game against the Bulls with 26 wins, almost as many as the 33 they had in the past two seasons combined. At seven games over .500, the Generals should be a lock to make the playoffs, and on Monday, they became one of six OHL clubs to submit a letter of intent to bid for the 2008 Memorial Cup.

"He wants to be looked at as a (Steve) Yzerman or a (Joe) Sakic, someone who comes in and makes a storied organization a winner again," Tavares' agent, Bryan Deasley, said.

Tavares is second in OHL scoring with 103 points (a league-high 55 goals and 48 assists) in 49 games. As a point of comparison, at the same age, Sidney Crosby led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 135 points (54 goals and 81 assists) in 59 games. But Crosby played only another year of junior before joining the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Already questions are being raised about Tavares' future in the OHL. After all, what more could he do in two years when he is 18? Tavares' birthday is Sept. 20 and he is not eligible to be drafted until 2009. Had he been born five days earlier in 1990, he would have been eligible for the 2008 NHL draft. Is there a concern Tavares's growth would be stunted in his fourth year in the OHL?

"It's a possibility we are aware of but until we see him dominate 40 or 50 games a year, only then will we say, 'What's the solution?' " Deasley said. "We know it is an undercurrent to the story."

Deasley said the idea of Tavares going to play in Europe is "not a consideration right now and we are not even looking at it."

But Tavares, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, apparently is not worried about that prospect. He told the Hockey News he intends to play for the Generals for four seasons.

BRIEFLY

Also bidding for the Memorial Cup are the London Knights, Kitchener Rangers, Sarnia Sting, Saginaw Spirt and Kingston Frontenacs. The bids will be whittled down to a short list on March 6 and bid presentations will be heard on April 18. The winning team/city will be announced in the week of May 7 ... Tyler Donati of the Bulls was named OHL player of the week after producing three goals and eight assists in three victories. Donati leads the OHL with 106 points.


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